Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by Leeds Museums and Galleries | The Discovery Centre

This resource was created by Milo Phillips – Assistant Curator of Entomology at Leeds Museums and Galleries.  It aims to develop knowledge and understanding of how different animals communicate with each other, both within and between species. Linked resources and videos illustrate how certain modes of communication work alongside real-life examples and recordings. It also shows how a better understanding of how animals communicate with each other is important for conservation efforts, welfare and pest control in the real world.


Curriculum Links

The resource covers the following areas of the Science curriculum:

  • KS2 Science – Living things and their habitats; Life cycles; Evolution and adaptation
  • KS3 Science – Relationships in an ecosystem; Evolution and Genetics; Reproduction; Variations between species; Adaptation


Aims of resource

To introduce the different ways in which animals can communicate with each other, the kinds of information they can convey, and the importance of understanding these exchanges.


Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of the different methods used by animals to communicate, and the kind of information that animals can communicate using these methods.
  • Understanding how different modes of communication serve different purposes and how one message can be interpreted multiple ways by multiple animals.
  • Skills to critically evaluate and link different types of communication to the various survival needs of animals.

Discussion Ideas

  • Why do animals need to communicate at all?
  • What kind of information might an animal want to communicate to a member of its own species?
  • How many different modes, or ways of communicating used by animals can you think of?
  • What kind of information might an animal want to communicate to a member of another species, such as a predator?
  • What other things might animals use auditory communication for?
  • What kinds of visual communication do humans use?
  • Can you think of any technologies or inventions inspired by visual communication in animals?

Activity Ideas

  • Using the supporting website links provided (see Resources), try communicating to your friends and classmates in different ways! Use, charades, sign language, Morse code or even semaphore!


Modes – different forms of communication.